Focus – July 29th 2018

Focus

Often times we find ourselves moving at the speed of fright, attempting to keep up with everything that is going on around us. Those are the times when our focus becomes most critical. Both the focus itself, and what we are focused on.

Note from Kip…

I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

BEWARE

That lack of focus is also something that our enemy the devil uses to snare us as well.

When we get caught up in situations that cause us to lose focus of priorities, purpose and goal, it presents the perfect opportunity for us to become distracted and detached. If Satan can use our lack of focus to get us to this place he’s got us right where he likes doing battle. It doesn’t take long before he can shift us from feeling distracted and detached to abandoned and isolated.

Once we are in that corner the only way out is to power through his onslaught and get back to where we are intended to be.

Let’s keep reading that Psalm before we go further.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Psalm 121

Power in God’s Word

The issue at hand when we are backed into that corner of despair, isolation, and abandonment, is the power of God’s Word. The Word allows us to tap into God’s power to overcome the evil one.

I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.

Psalm 119:93 NIV

Psalm 121 and many other passages are there to pull us through the dark times, but the intent of this devotion isn’t so much to get us out of the corner but rather to keep us from getting cornered in the first place.

Causation

If we never end up in the corner, then there isn’t a need to escape it. There isn’t a point in our lives where we have found ourselves in this position, that we aren’t able to trace back the root cause being the fact that we first lost focus on Jesus, His power, His providence, His Love and His Grace.

When we trace back to where we lost focus we are reminded just ‘who we need to be focused on’.

Jesus is the way,

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

John 14:6 (HCSB)

Packaged deal really. Not only is He the way, He’s also the truth and the life. He is the way of our salvation. He is the truth by which we need to focus on because it is through His truth we find life in the darkness of death and hopelessness.

Focus on the Light

Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 (HCSB)

I am mildly amused by the fact that Hollywood produces movies that exclaim, ‘don’t go into the light’. That’s because in most cases they are in the darkness to begin with. They fear the light. When I read in John that Jesus declares that He is the light of the world and if we follow Him we will never walk in the darkness because we will have the light of life which is Him!

Thank you, Hollywood, for a little misinformation from the demons of darkness.

Here is what I’m wanting us to get to, notice the precise words that Jesus is saying here. It’s easy enough to skim by this and agree that Jesus is the light of the world but what exactly does He mean by that? It’s not a mystery, it is right in front of us. “Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness”!

Never in Darkness

Never! There is absolutely no cause for Christians to walk in the darkness of despair. Not if they remain focused on Jesus. And the key word I want us to focus on in this passage is ‘never’. Jesus didn’t say that anyone that follows Him could, might, may, or possibly avoid walking in darkness, He said “NEVER”!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.”

John 15:5-8 (HCSB)

I do realize that I’ve become a bit of a digital loop-back recording on this topic but friends, brothers and sisters, this is central to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We should never find ourselves in the dark in the first place as Christians. If we have really accepted Jesus as the Lord of our life, there is no reasonable excuse for finding ourselves trapped in the dark with Satan bearing down on us.

This simply should never happen, because if we are ‘in Christ Jesus’ and ‘Christ Jesus is in us’. We are looking to him for our nourishment and strength and there is no way we will lose focus so long as we ‘remain in Him’!

I cannot minimize just how powerful this concept is. Becoming a true Disciple of Christ means that we have now become fixated on Him, His Word, His Promises, His Glory, His Love and His Grace. There simply isn’t any room for anything else to occupy our minds or our eyes!!!

Fear? That’s a product of the devil’s workshop. Jesus said we have nothing to fear.

Jesus responded to them, “Do you now believe? Look: An hour is coming, and has come, when each of you will be scattered to his own home, and you will leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”

John 16:31-33 (HCSB)

WE’VE ALREADY WON! Why do we allow ourselves to be subjected to the imprisonment of darkness in our lives? There is only one reason that I can think of and that is that we don’t really believe what Jesus said.

That should terrify you!

If we but keep our sites trained on the Master and seriously follow Him, we got this. Our side’s already won because Jesus has conquered the world. He’s got that nailed. All that is left are these little skirmishes out here that we can easily overcome through His power and His glory and His strength if we only remain in Him.

Let me repeat a bit of John that we already have covered.

My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My Disciples.

John 15:8 (HCSB)

This was the end of the passage where Jesus spoke of himself as being the ‘true vine’.

He wants Disciples. He wants us for His Disciples. The victory? He’s got that covered. Just remain in Him and He will remain in you. Together, we will be fruitful. But only if we remain in Him. Focused like a laser. Following Him as relentlessly as He sought us. Becoming His Disciple.

God’s glorified by this. That we are Disciples of Jesus Christ His Son, bearing the fruit that is the harvest of His Gospel. There are a lot of capital letters in that sentence, it’s a capital offence to neglect so great a salvation.

We must, therefore, pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.

For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding, and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was first spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him.

Hebrews 2:1-3 (HCSB)

Remain in the light. The Light will remain in you. Be His Disciple.

Blessings,
kip…

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